DCHS Softball Standout Jacey Hatfield Signs with Cumberland University

April 21, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

With graduation just around the corner, DCHS Class of 2022 Salutatorian and Tigerette softball sensation Jacey Hatfield is a happy camper. In less than a month, she will be receiving her diploma after a fulfilling high school career which obviously is something to celebrate, but Hatfield is equally excited about what the future has in store for her.

During a brief signing event Thursday, Jacey’s family, friends, teammates and coaches gathered around her in the DCHS gym as she made her commitment to Cumberland University at Lebanon where she will further her education and play softball for the Phoenix. Daughter of Jeremy and Jennifer Hatfield, Jacey said her plans are to study pre-medicine and one day become a pediatric nurse.

“I chose Cumberland because I wanted to go somewhere I would enjoy and have fun and I didn’t want to go far away from home, so I thought Cumberland was perfect. I practiced with them and knew that is where I was going,” Hatfield said. “I have worked my whole life for this. Since I was 10 years old, I have played travel ball year-round and I had people who pushed me like my parents and Coach Danny Fish. I think he has taught me more about softball than anybody ever. I am so excited. I guess it’s a relief when you are an athlete to finally sign and know what you are going to do with your future, at least for the next four years,” said Hatfield.

“We are proud of Jacey,” said Coach Fish. “She has worked her entire life for this moment, and I am glad to see it happen for her. She is a hard worker and has been a great player for us as a hitter and short stop. Jacey has been starting since she was a freshman. She is a two time All District athlete and will be three time All District this year. She had to miss her sophomore year when we as a team couldn’t compete because of the COVID pandemic. I think she will also be in the running for Player of the Year in our district. That’s how good she is. Her career batting average is around .480. She has really been a good player for us, and I hate to see her go because she is exactly what a coach wants. Jacey is a good applicator of things you tell her, and she is a good leader. We talk about peat and repeat, and she is good at repeating what her coach says and gets the rest of the kids to buy in to what her coach wants to do. Those players just don’t come along often,” said Coach Fish.

Stephanie Theall, first year head coach at Cumberland, said she is delighted to welcome Hatfield to the college and the Phoenix softball program.

“I am ridiculously excited to have Jacey join us. From the moment I saw her I knew I wanted her on my ball team. She steps in between those lines and plays hard 100% of the time. That’s what I love about her. She is a great student and I think she will bring a lot to our program,” said Coach Theall.

Cumberland is a private university in Lebanon, founded in 1842 and is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and the Mid-South Conference.

Spirits sure to soar during Aviation Day Saturday at Smithville Municipal Airport

April 21, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

Up, Up, and Away!

Saturday is expected to be a great day for flying and you will have a chance to do just that during Aviation Day and Open House at the Smithville Municipal Airport.

Whether you take to the skies or keep your feet on the ground your spirits will soar with all the fun things to see and do.

Smithville Airport Manager Katelyn Sanders said the event will be held Saturday, April 23 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. featuring a variety of aircraft from planes and helicopters to gyrocopters. There will also be plenty of food and a 45-gallon Yeti will be given away which is navy blue in color and bears the Smithville Airport logo. Raffle tickets available at the event.

“Admission is free. We will have a place for everybody to park. Planes will be flying in. MTSU will be bringing in one of their Diamond aircraft. The Tippen family will have a Stearman. Our local experimental aircraft association chapter will have a lot of gyrocopters which is basically an airplane and helicopter put together. The National Guard and Ascension Saint Thomas will also be bringing in helicopters. We will have food trucks including the Greek Station, Slick Pig Barbeque, Central Ice Shack, and the Pizza Machine,” said Sanders.
Helicopter rides will also be offered for $20 per person with a minimum of two but no more than three persons per ride.

“Come join us! You’re sure to have a great time,” said Sanders.

County Budget Committee begins work on 2022-23 spending plan

April 21, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County budget committee met Tuesday evening at the courthouse to begin making plans for the 2022-23 budget.

Half of the 14-member county commission makes up the budget committee including 1st district commissioner Julie Young, 2nd district commissioner Sabrina Farler, 3rd district commissioner Jenny Trapp, 4th district commissioner Dr. Scott Little, 5th district commissioner Anita Puckett, 6th district commissioner Jeff Barnes who serves as chairman of the budget committee, and 7th district commissioner Beth Pafford.

County Mayor Tim Stribling said that one cent of the local property tax rate this year is to generate $64,155 at full value or $60,306 at a 94% collection rate, which is the percentage that the county usually uses for budgeting purposes.

Two department heads, Fire Chief Donny Green and EMS Director Hoyte Hale appeared before the committee in person to present their budgets and to make requests along with Dusty Johnson, Captain of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad. No action was taken.

EMS Director Hale requested that raises of a dollar or $1.50 per hour be applied to the existing EMS wage scale which tops out at 20 years of service for full time EMT, AMT, Paramedics and Critical Care staff and he also requested that part time personnel be given a $3.00 per hour increase in pay.

Full time DeKalb EMS personnel were granted a pay raise only four months ago to start the new calendar year (2022). In December, the county commission approved a recommendation from the health, education, and public welfare committee to increase the pay of full-time ambulance service personnel by $3.00 per hour and to adopt a budget amendment of $72,975 from the general fund balance to pay for it through the rest of the fiscal year, January 1-June 30, 2022.

The ambulance service is budgeted for 20 full time positions but at the time (December) Director Hale said it had been difficult to retain and attract full time employees because the DeKalb EMS was not pay competitive with surrounding counties.

Director Hale said Tuesday night that this new request for an increase in pay for his staff will help keep pace with other counties.

“We got a three dollar increase for them (full time EMS employees) in January because people were leaving. In January I was 4-5 full timers down but I have them back now. An increase of a dollar or a dollar fifty per hour will keep us up there because other counties will be raising their pay,” said Director Hale.

In addition to the pay raises, Director Hale is also asking that eight new EMS positions be created and funded to staff a third 24 hour a day ambulance.

DeKalb EMS staffs 2–24-hour trucks and a day truck Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. EMS staff operate on a 24/72 schedule meaning they work 24 hours on duty and 72 hours off duty.

“I have two (employees) on the day truck right now but starting May 1st I plan to have four on the day truck seven days working in 12 hour shifts,” said Hale.

Chief Donny Green then addressed the budget committee concerning county fire department needs.

“My budget is pretty static except for a couple of items. One of them is fuel. I don’t really know how to project that. We budgeted $15,000 last year. I think we are okay right now because our call volume comes usually later in the fall through the winter but I don’t really know how to predict next fiscal year. I have budgeted $25,000 but I am flexible with that and if you have a better formula I am okay with changing that but I think we all know we will have to project an increase,” said Chief Green.

“We put $31,200 in last year for my part-time position at the Main Station Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. We gave them a raise last year to $15.00 an hour. If we go across the board with employee raises this year, I would like for that to be applied to this (part-time position) as well,” Green continued.

“I have added $3,000 for in-service. We have a higher number of people on our roster than we have had in a long time. We are currently at 92 which is up by a good number and with that comes more training expense,” said Chief Green.

“Equipment maintenance has been increased by $3,000 and $1,500 for communication equipment to replace pagers and radios”.

“We have applied for a grant to fund personal protection equipment or turnout gear and a Quint apparatus which is a fire engine with a ladder on it. It is the same thing we applied for last year through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and the local match (from the capital projects fund) will only be spent if the grant is approved,” explained Chief Green.

“I would also like to budget $10,000 from the capital projects fund to add two more restrooms to existing fire hall stations. We have been working on restrooms at the Blue Springs and Johnson Chapel stations and we have done Midway and Cookeville Highway but I would like to add restrooms at the Temperance Hall and Belk stations. It would be putting a small bathroom in the corner like what we have done at the others”.

“We would further request to add another 4×4 brush truck to our fleet (funded from the capital projects fund). We only have one brush truck and it is at the Main station. Many times we need more than one. There are places we can’t get our big fire engines in to access homes and property because of brush fires and many times we use the brush truck to resupply water to our fire engines,” said Chief Green.

“Finally, I would ask that another $25,000 be set aside as seed money for a future fire hall in the Wolf Creek Community. That would put that fund at $100,000,” added Chief Green.

Captain Dusty Johnson of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad then addressed the budget committee.

“I would ask for a $2,500 increase for fuel expense because its hard to figure how much we are going to need,” said Captain Johnson. The county’s total contribution to the Rescue Squad, a non-profit organization, is $38,321. If Johnson’s request is granted the county’s total contribution would go to $40,821.

The next county budget committee meetings will be Tuesday, April 26 and Thursday, April 28 at 6:30 p.m. each night on the third floor of the courthouse in a courtroom.

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